Sexy Halloween Costumes: Why Women Cannot Win, Even on Halloween

If hurricane Sandy isn’t cause for women to put more clothes on this Halloween, the increasing trend in slut shaming may be. Turns out, Halloween is not the one day a year a girl can dress like a total slut and no one is going to say anything about it.

Slut dropping,” a disturbing new hazing for “sluts,” is spreading across college campuses in the U.K.  and is considered by many merely part of fun freshman-orientation week festivities. It involves two simple steps: 1) picking up the slut and 2) dropping her off. Basically, young men drive around looking for girls they deem dressed “slutty” and offer to give them a ride (often, the girls are walking home from the bar/intoxicated). So what is the purpose slut dropping? Elite Daily writer Paul Hudson in his article, "Slut-Dropping: The New Social Phenomenon," says slut dropping is a way to “protect” future generations of women by punishing “sluts”:

“It’s a way of letting girls know that being a slut is no longer acceptable; it’s a way of protecting future generations of women from falling to the same binge drinking, coke snorting, orgy frequenting lifestyles that many women have become accustom to in recent years ... it’s a way to show a slut how stupid and naïve she really is.”

Thank god women have men like Hudson to shame us into respectability. Of course, not all sexists (male or female) feel the need to shame other’s into submission. Some just won’t shag you.

As Ask Men writer Kevin Conklin points out in his article, "Why You Shouldn't Pick Up The Halloween Slut," it is “nearly mandatory for women to dress skimpy on Halloween.” He also admits that most “Halloween sluts” aren’t actually sluts (whatever that means). But then, oddly enough, he advises men against picking up said “Halloween sluts.” Why? Damaged goods:

“Take the high road and don’t run after the girl who is pretty much naked,” Conklin concludes. “Chances are, that road has been traveled many times or it’s just a big canvas painting of a road and you’re yet to see the two guys carrying it across the screen.”

What Conklin fails to acknowledge is that women are encouraged to dress sexy on Halloween for men’s viewing pleasure or, as he calls it, “eye candy as far as we [men] can see.” And that’s OK. There is nothing wrong with being objectified or objectifying. I encourage men to express their sexuality on Halloween as well – but I wouldn’t disrespect them for it. Slut shaming comes in all shapes and sizes and, as the recent suicide of tortured teen Amanda Todd showed, can having devastating consequences.

For women, Halloween highlights that while we’re being pushed more and more into narrowly-defined over-sexualized expressions of ourselves, we are, at the same time, being shamed for them. This mother-whore dichotomy leaves many young women like myself conflicted and confused around Halloween. On one hand, we want to have sexual agency. We want to feel desired and harness our erotic power. On the other hand, we want to be respected; leading many of us to cover up or dress in goofy, non-sexy, costumes. Sadly, we can’t have it both ways. Halloween should be a holiday of liberation and expression – a time when we can dress as we want, whether goofy, scary, or sexy ... and not be judged for it. The rest of the year we will be.

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Jessica Schreindl

Jessica Schreindl is a TV producer in Seattle, Washington. She graduated with her M.A. from Syracuse University where she studied film history and documentary filmmaking. Born and raised in the great Northwest, she has worn the hat of a journalist, photographer and bartender. Her favorite topics to write about are foreign policy, feminism, gender inequality, corporate power, human rights and civil liberties.

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